BWCA Entry Point, Route, and Trip Report Blog

April 24 2017

Entry Point 25 - Moose Lake

Moose Lake entry point allows overnight paddle or motor (25 HP max). This entry point is supported by Kawishiwi Ranger Station near the city of Ely, MN. The distance from ranger station to entry point is 21 miles. Access is an boat landing or canoe launch at Moose Lake. Many trip options for paddlers with additional portages. This area was affected by blowdown in 1999.

Number of Permits per Day: 27
Elevation: 1356 feet
Latitude: 47.9877
Longitude: -91.4997
Moose Lake - 25

Grandson;s Introduction to the BW

by dickb
Trip Report

Entry Date: June 14, 2007
Entry Point: Moose Lake
Number of Days: 9
Group Size: 2

Trip Introduction:
This has been a trip in the making for several years. Finally got the opportunity this year. Friday June 9 Left DC about noon and headed to TN to pickup grandson. Got to Morristown about 10:30pm Saturday June 10 Did last minute shopping. Made grandson go over his gear checklist, bug proof and pack his gear. Sunday June 11 Left Morristown about 4:30am and started the 2 day drive to Ely. Got past Chicago and decided to spend the night at a hotel. Monday June 12 Up about 5:30pm and had the continental breakfast and on the road about 6:30 am. We arrived in Ely about 3:30 and stopped by VNO to introduce ourselves. They suggested we come back about noon on Wednesday since our departure date was not until Thursday. Got to the Kawishiwi River National Forest campground about 10 miles south of Ely on MN1. We set up camp and then back to town to get something to eat. We asked around with several people recommending Wiseguys pizza. Decided to eat there Turned out to be a good recommendation. The pizza was good and so was Hedie's service. We walked around town for a bit and then back to camp. We sat around the campfire watched the stars come out and then to bed, Tuesday June 12 Woke up and back to to town to eat breakfast and pick up any last minute items. Bought a deck of cards which proved to be a good investment later on the trip. Visited the Wolf and Bear center ate a late lunch/early dinner (Walleye sandwich) and back to camp. Went to swimming area and Jr got in for an hour or so. We enjoyed a nice campfire that night just sitting around talking and watching the fire. Wednesday June 13 Got up broke camp and into town for breakfast. Met John at VNO about noon and we went over possible routes, the food and gear pack. They gave us the pack for our personnel gear and we checked into the bunkhouse. We picked out a Wenonah Escape for our canoe. Since it had been years since I have done any fishing we bought our fishing poles in TN and decided to buy the tackle in Ely, so we purchased our tackle for VNO with a little help for the local experts. We agreed on a 6:30 departure time from VNO to Moose Lake. Took our gear and tackle to the room repacked, sorted our tackle and pushed down the barbs on the hooks. Jr wanted to go back to Wiseguys for dinner. We ate and brought the leftover pizza back to the bunkhouse something for breakfast to the bunkhouse. Jr went down to the store and hung out with the guys while I stayed in the room for awhile. Later I went down to the store and he was helping clean out the bait tanks, removing dead minnows etc.

Day 1 of 9


Thursday, June 14, 2007 Up at 5am to shower and eat breakfast (leftover pizza from Wiseguys). We got down stairs and on the road to Moose. We got to Moose for the tow to Birch and were on our way. We got in the water on Birch with Jr up from navigating and me in the stern. We made the portages to Knife with little or no difficulty. Just before one of the portages we got up very close to a pair of loons. We watched them for a few minutes and then we had to move on. We decided to double portage since this was Jr's first trip and my first since 1960 (before there was a BW - back them it was just Quetico-Superior). We had originally planned to go to Knife, Bonnie, Spoon and Kekekabic, but we changed routes after talking to some people we met on one of the portages. They said the first campsite on Knife decent and just a short distance from Portage Lake where they had good fishing. We decided to give it a try. John at VNO had mentioned that the 2nd campsite on Portage was good one. We got to the portage and left all the gear except the canoe on the Knife side. We took the 35R portage to Portage Lake and checked out the campsite. There were a couple of guys at the campsite, but they were only fishing for smallys from the bank. We went back and got our gear. By the time time we got back to the campsite on Portage they were on the other side of the lake fishing from some rocks. We set up camp and decided to do some fishing. When we had beached the canoe at the campsite we had left the canoe tilted at a slight angle to the right.  Without thinking too much of it I got in the back of the canoe and Jr started to push off. Since he had never canoed before, he was unaware of how unstable a canoe can be and splash in I went along with my digital camera. Of course, I had forgotten to put the camera in the water proof case which was in the pack. Naturally, the camera was gone and so was the picture taking. We went to the other side and fished from some rocks with no luck. We returned to camp and had a good supper of steak baked potato and desert. Except for the dunking we were off to a good start and Jr was enjoying the trip. It was nice to be home   

 



Day 2 of 9


Friday, June 15, 2007 It rained that night so we got up a bit late and had a breakfast of eggs, hash browns, sausage and hot coco. Cleaned up camp and went to the other side to try fishing from some rocks. Jr got a few bites, but no fish for dinner. We met another group in a canoe and they were just in Portage fishing for northern's. Clouds started to build so we headed back to camp. Shortly after we returned to camp it started to rain so we had to retire to the tent. We played cards with the deck we had bought in Ely. (good thing), while waiting for the rain to clear. Rain cleared and we had some lunch. Jr fished from shore with no luck while I just lounged around. We decided to leave for Knife Sunday weather permitting. We had a good supper, nice campfire and then to bed. It's nice to be home. 2007

 



Day 3 of 9


Saturday, June 16, 2007 Got up and ate a good breakfast of French toast and hot coco. Jr continued to fish from shore while I cleaned up camp. Later on I finally talked Jr into trolling from the canoe. We went out and within 15 minutes he had a strike. We were trolling for northern's and he was using a red/white daredevil (same kind I use as a kid) when he got a strike. He did not set the hook in time so he reeled it in.  I told him to cast it back in the area where he had gotten the strike and WHAM he hooked something. He started to reel it in and when the fish got closer we saw it was a good size northern. I don't think I will ever forgot that northern looking up at me from the right side of the canoe. Wish I had not lost the camera, since this was one of those once in a lifetime events (his first real fish). Jr found out early that VNO packed us a nice collapsible fishing net and he had brought it with us. He was able to land the fish in the canoe, but could not get the hook off. He also saw how sharp their teeth are. That fish had swallowed the lure all the way down to the gills. So with the fish flapping around the bottom of the canoe we headed back to camp to remove the lure and put the fish on a stringer. Jr was really excited although he didn't want to show it.  I cleanup camp/tent while Jr did some more fishing from shore with no luck. Later we went back out to do some more trolling and Jr got another strike, but this time he didn't have the lure tied to the line line very good, so when the fish hit the lure it got away along with the lure. We fished a bit more and then back to camp to clean and cook the fish. Had a good fish dinner the all the trimmings and later a campfire. Good ending to a great day. This was definitely the best day of the trip.

 



Day 4 of 9


Sunday, June 17, 2007 Up early and ate breakfast (oatmeal, and coco). Weather was overcast and rather windy so we decided to wait to see if it cleared up. It started to rain to once again we had to retire to the tent. Killed time by play cards and just talking, It rained most of the day with short breaks so we were able to get out of the tent for some fresh air and eat. No campfire tonight.

 



Day 5 of 9


Monday, June 18, 2007 Got up in the middle of the night and went outside. I could see the stars so I though we could leave Portage and get to Knife for a few days. Back to bed for a couple of hours then back up. Woke up Jr and we had a breakfast of oatmeal and coco, We broke camp and headed for Knife. The weather was good with the sun coming up and winds were calm (good paddling weather). Got to Knife and started to look for an unoccupied campsite. It was early so we had to pass several campsites. We got to the first campsite at the fork to South Knife and the campsite was occupied, This is one of the campsites that John at VNO had marked on the map as a good campsite. The people said they were breaking camp and we could have it when we left. We asked if we could pull over out the way and wait for them to break camp and they said yes. We pulled off next to the rocks staying out of their way while they broke camp. I would have asked if they wanted help but thought they might take the offer the wrong way. By this time the wind had started to pick up. Once they were clear of the camp and launched their canoes we started to set up camp. This is a real nice campsite. We were able to pitch the tent right on the point, behind some small bushes and trees. We had no sooner pitched the tent when it started to rain so into the tent we went. The wind was coming out of the west and we found out later that they had measured wind gusts of up to 50mph on Moose. It was a good thing we pitched where we did, since those brushes and trees acted as wind break. We had hoped to take a day trip to Bonnie and possibly Spoon for some fishing but with the wind gusting the way it was we stayed off the water. Later the rain stopped and we were able to get out of then for some air. Ate dinner and just sat around talking since we could not get out on the water. No campfire due to the wind.

 



Day 6 of 9


Tuesday, June 19, 2007 Woke up and the weather had not improved. It was cloudy and still windy with whitecaps on Knife. Played cards and killed time. Later that day the clouds cleared and the wind died down. Took a dip in the lake, had a good dinner, and a nice campfire. We decided to break camp and head back to Birch as soon as we could since we were due to be picked up on Friday. John had marked the first campsite on Birch (coming out) as a good one. We had planed to spend the last night Birch anyway.

 



Day 7 of 9


Wednesday, June 20, 2007 Up early with a bit of rain but no wind. After a breakfast of oatmeal and coco we broke camp and headed to Birch. By the time we got the canoe in the water and were on our way, the clouds cleared and it turned out to be great weather for paddling. We made good time to Birch with no problems. The campsite we wanted was unoccupied so we set up camp. Jr went off to explore the trails and I cleaned up the campsite. Jr met a couple from Minneapolis and their dog. He came back later and brought the man (Sean) with him. We introduced ourselves and talked for a bit. Jr did not not want to do much fishing, so white I did some fishing from shore, Jr entertained himself by turning some of the logs for the fire into bowling pins and using another log tie to a sip line he made as the bowling ball. He was also able to hang the tarp, something he wanted to do since the first day. We had a good supper, campfire and off to bed.

 



Day 8 of 9


Thursday, June 21, 2007 Up very early to a beautiful sunrise.  Mist on the lake and the sun rising, what a site. I decided to fish from shore since it early and Jr was still sleeping. I was using a rappalla and cast under a small tree and I got a hit. Reeled it in and it was a good size smally. I had snagged him just below the gill and on the belly. Don't know if he struck and missed or I just snagged him by accident. Naturally this work up Jr andnow he wanted to fish. So we took the canoe and did some fishing with no luck. We got back to camp and had lunch. Our neighbors had gone out fishing, trolling past our camp down towards the Knife portage. On the way back they hooked a good size northern about 100 – 150 years from our camp.  When Sean landed the northern he hit it on the head several times with the paddle, but was unable to kill it. They paddled over to our camp and we showed him our bass. We thought we should be able to catch a few more fish and eat dinner together. So we put the northern on our stringer with the bass. Sean had laid his fishing pole on the ground and Jr accidentally stepped and broke the pole. Since this was our last day, but Sean and his wife's 2nd day out we though it only fair to give him one of our poles. Later when I went to check on the stringer of fish, the bass was there, but only the head of the northern remained. We thought it might be a snapping turtle, but it would have had to be a pertly big one. We grabbed our fishing gear and went out to see if we could catch some more fish. We caught up with Sean and told him about the northern. Thank goodness he was OK with it. First Sean's pole and then his northern. What next? We fished and Jr got a few bites but no fish. Sean ended up catching a good size bass and a small walleye. Me and Jr returned to camp and Sean dropped by the camp later and we showed him the head of the northern. He was quite amazed.  We cooked the bass and had our last BW dinner, a nice campfire and packed up everything we could, since this was our last night in the BW. Except for Saturday this was the best day of the trip. Beautiful weather and we were able to fish most of the day, even though we only caught one smally.

 



Day 9 of 9


Friday, June 22, 2007 Woke up early to another beautiful BW sunrise and a breakfast of oatmeal and coco. We broke camp and headed to the pick up site for our noon tow. We made good time and and when we got the pickup site, we me a group of people from Texas waiting for their tow. We found out it was only 10am so we had a 2 hour wait. Jr and one of the kids in the other group did some fishing from shore and caught a few small fish, releasing them. Our tow arrived and we said goodbye to the group. When we got back to the dock Jr fished from the dock while waiting for our ride to Ely. He caught one more small northern and released it. We got back to Ely and when I went to get the van it wouldn't start. Got a jump and we were OK. Bad thing is that I had just put in a new battery about 2 months ago. Anyway we packed our gear in the van and started the long trip back to Tn.

The BW has change quite a bit since my last visit in 1960 or so. Overall it was a great trip and I am glad I was able to introduce my grandson to the things I experienced when I was his age. I am already planning for my next trip in about 2 years.

 


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